Re-read week 98: Drama Queens 15 - 20

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Re: Re-read week 98: Drama Queens 15 - 20

Postby brasca » Sun Aug 31, 2014 6:49 am

Twitcher wrote:15. The concept of Samantha gets more and more troubling with each passing year: "Oh, la, a black teenage girl who does not yet realize that we live in a post-racial society! How droll! Riots in Ferguson? Fooferah! We need not concern ourselves with such trivialities! Nicki Minaj and Beyonce Knowles being slut-shamed, while Lily Allen is hailed as a revolutionary? We-hell, the former are strumpets! Miss Allen is a GODDESS! Rest easy, minorities! We have a black president! All our problems are SOLVED!" [/sarcasm]
16. I wonder if "drifted apart" is a synonym for, "it got uncomfortable being around Helen and her dysfunctional family." I've heard those two words have that general meaning before...
17. Creepy Cyndi moment number two?
18. I'm guessing I'm right about 16.
19. Sex, sex, sexy sex.
20. Ah yes, girls, socialization, and the great war of passive-aggression. Not like me an' Sis, we just beat the crap out of each other. Ah, memories.


15. I know and I wish this could have been explored to a greater extent. I know people have not let Aggie off the hook for targeting Penny on passing observations that leaped to some wrong conclusions and Samantha certainly escalated it far beyond anything she ever did, but in that respect they are not all that different.

16 & 18. Very probably, but because this is such a volatile issue I will leave it at that.
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Re: Re-read week 98: Drama Queens 15 - 20

Postby TCampbell » Tue Sep 02, 2014 12:00 am

"Oh, la, a black teenage girl who does not yet realize that we live in a post-racial society! How droll! Riots in Ferguson? Fooferah! We need not concern ourselves with such trivialities! Nicki Minaj and Beyonce Knowles being slut-shamed, while Lily Allen is hailed as a revolutionary? We-hell, the former are strumpets! Miss Allen is a GODDESS! Rest easy, minorities! We have a black president! All our problems are SOLVED!"


I'm not sure I should post on this one. I am, like any sheltered white, constantly playing catch-up when it comes to depictions of race. There's always more to learn and there's always better to do, and I try to spend most of my time looking forward. I'm also not sure I'm even reading this comment right.

But still, I feel compelled to object that I never, ever believed that the problems of racial minorities (never mind ALL minorities) were behind us, though I will confess to being more optimistic about racial issues during the days Obama was rising to prominence (these pages were coming out around the time his election was becoming a near-certainty). One of our first stories was called "The Race Card," and while it took an unusual tack, it was certainly meant to acknowledge some more profound problems that continued to affect Duane's life in certain subtle and less-subtle ways throughout the run of the series. I think there's a legitimate attempt to grapple with the issue with Brandi, who gets extremely nervous about serious personality conflicts for reasons that definitely include race, and then, late in the series, has to deal with being branded as violent because of a quick, instinctual reaction to actual hate speech.

Samantha, though, is one of Penny and Aggie's many less-than-admirable self-appointed underdogs. A big theme running through the series is that someone who belongs to an oppressed group or has another disadvantage isn't automatically a saint-- a theme I sometimes feel I overemphasized, but damn if it wasn't a tough idea for some readers to assimilate. It's worth noting, perhaps, that the concept of "underdog" is somewhat limited when your cast is pretty much a bunch of students at two preppy high schools and a few of their parents. There's an important intersection between race and class, and someone with Samantha's life has opportunities that most of the people in the news about Ferguson have never experienced.

But according to Samantha, she'll never have a chance at anything significant at all, until the playing field is leveled. It'd be one thing if she were trying to wake people up to the racial injustices in the world or even trying to start up a black student union at school, but she is using this issue solely to pick fights and justify her own martyr complex. She picks on Penny largely because she heard Penny was racist and she's about as original a thinker as Bob Kane. I like to think that showing Brandi and Duane's issues above was some insurance against seeming to send the message that "Obama means racism is over," but you can't govern these things.

Sure, if I were doing it these days, Ferguson might be enough on my mind that I'd do something more overt and ripped from the headlines than these subtle social strains or Xena parroting L. Ron Hubbard, and I might even include a character who was more of a genuine black activist just to throw Sam into sharper relief. Although, really, so much would be different that it's hardly worth speculating in that direction. Currently, on Guilded Age, most of my grappling with race issues takes the form of dealing with fictional ones, although there is a certain real-life minority issue we're taking steps to addressing through that series, one I've been looking forward to writing about for a long, long time. Fingers crossed I get it right.
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Re: Re-read week 98: Drama Queens 15 - 20

Postby Twitcher » Tue Sep 02, 2014 2:57 am

I just feel she wasn't fleshed out enough. We know why Stan's so brash and conflicted, but I can't say the same for Samantha. If we knew a little more about Samantha's influences, and how she was raised, her actions would make more sense.
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Re: Re-read week 98: Drama Queens 15 - 20

Postby brasca » Tue Sep 02, 2014 6:43 am

TCampbell wrote:
"Oh, la, a black teenage girl who does not yet realize that we live in a post-racial society! How droll! Riots in Ferguson? Fooferah! We need not concern ourselves with such trivialities! Nicki Minaj and Beyonce Knowles being slut-shamed, while Lily Allen is hailed as a revolutionary? We-hell, the former are strumpets! Miss Allen is a GODDESS! Rest easy, minorities! We have a black president! All our problems are SOLVED!"


I'm not sure I should post on this one. I am, like any sheltered white, constantly playing catch-up when it comes to depictions of race. There's always more to learn and there's always better to do, and I try to spend most of my time looking forward. I'm also not sure I'm even reading this comment right.

But still, I feel compelled to object that I never, ever believed that the problems of racial minorities (never mind ALL minorities) were behind us, though I will confess to being more optimistic about racial issues during the days Obama was rising to prominence (these pages were coming out around the time his election was becoming a near-certainty). One of our first stories was called "The Race Card," and while it took an unusual tack, it was certainly meant to acknowledge some more profound problems that continued to affect Duane's life in certain subtle and less-subtle ways throughout the run of the series. I think there's a legitimate attempt to grapple with the issue with Brandi, who gets extremely nervous about serious personality conflicts for reasons that definitely include race, and then, late in the series, has to deal with being branded as violent because of a quick, instinctual reaction to actual hate speech.

Samantha, though, is one of Penny and Aggie's many less-than-admirable self-appointed underdogs. A big theme running through the series is that someone who belongs to an oppressed group or has another disadvantage isn't automatically a saint-- a theme I sometimes feel I overemphasized, but damn if it wasn't a tough idea for some readers to assimilate. It's worth noting, perhaps, that the concept of "underdog" is somewhat limited when your cast is pretty much a bunch of students at two preppy high schools and a few of their parents. There's an important intersection between race and class, and someone with Samantha's life has opportunities that most of the people in the news about Ferguson have never experienced.

But according to Samantha, she'll never have a chance at anything significant at all, until the playing field is leveled. It'd be one thing if she were trying to wake people up to the racial injustices in the world or even trying to start up a black student union at school, but she is using this issue solely to pick fights and justify her own martyr complex. She picks on Penny largely because she heard Penny was racist and she's about as original a thinker as Bob Kane. I like to think that showing Brandi and Duane's issues above was some insurance against seeming to send the message that "Obama means racism is over," but you can't govern these things.

Sure, if I were doing it these days, Ferguson might be enough on my mind that I'd do something more overt and ripped from the headlines than these subtle social strains or Xena parroting L. Ron Hubbard, and I might even include a character who was more of a genuine black activist just to throw Sam into sharper relief. Although, really, so much would be different that it's hardly worth speculating in that direction. Currently, on Guilded Age, most of my grappling with race issues takes the form of dealing with fictional ones, although there is a certain real-life minority issue we're taking steps to addressing through that series, one I've been looking forward to writing about for a long, long time. Fingers crossed I get it right.


Well it goes without saying that I identify with the underdogs, but I also want to explore the motivations of the antagonists too since you did not create stock 2 dimensional bad guys. There are African Americans on the low end of the economic bracket who have to deal with racism as well as poverty every day. Now while Samantha may be on the higher economic bracket there could be that occasional and uncomfortable reminder that she is perceived with suspicion and that motivates her worst tendencies. With Samantha we do not know enough although you did mention she grows out of this knee jerk reaction to any perceived racism and actually married a white man. Could it be that her memories of past behavior might have been the reason she declined to go to the reunion?

I also wanted to add that I like your take on racism in Guilded Age because there is none among the humans. Those who would identify with Caucasian, African, or Asiatic classification seem to get along without any problems. It is all the non-humans that have to deal with the prejudice and makes me wonder if the elves, gnomes, and savage races did not exist how long it would take for the humans to devolve into racism and be at each other's throats.
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